Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announces his government’s trade strategy, whose main points are “total competitiveness, access to new markets, and governmental support.”
The government’s goal is to double exports, increasing their value by $40 billion in four years. The value of the country’s exports stood at $34 billion in 2009. Santos said that the targets were ambitious, but he was confident of meeting them.
The president said that in the first six months of 2010, Colombian exports amounted to $22.4 billion, which is their highest level in history and is a 22% increase from the same period the previous year.
Santos announced plans to reduce import tariffs, in order to lower the cost of imported inputs for Colombian industries. This “would also act as a brake on the revaluation [of the peso], to the extent that it increases the demand for dollars to buy new equipment and supplies.”
Halting the appreciation of the peso would be good for exporters, whose profits fall when the currency is strong.
The government also plans to make credit available to small and medium sized exporters, with a focus on creating formal jobs.
Talks will begin this year on free trade deals with Japan, Costa Rice, and the Dominican Republic, and deals with Panama and Korea will hopefully be completed, the president said.
Santos reiterated that one of the government’s top priorities is to enter the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). “Its mission is ours: to support sustainable growth, promote employment and improve living standards,” said the president.
Santos also revealed government plans to drop an energy surcharge levied on industry.